Powers of Congress, The
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A fantasy is employed in this film to define and explain the powers of Congress. Mr. Williams drops off to sleep for a few minutes to find himself confronted with a world in which Congress has been suspended and federal authority dissolved. When he awakens from his dream, he has a better understanding of his own responsibility in the selection of that body.
Ken Smith sez: This film marks Coronet's earliest excursion into surrealism. It opens in the living room of "Charles Bentley," whose checked suit and zebra-striped tie clash maddeningly with the room's bulls-eye wallpaper pattern, and give some hint of the strange sights to come. "Congress this! Congress that!" Bentley snorts as he throws down his newspaper. "I've got more things to think about than Congress!" He stomps down to the post office to mail his tax return, and continues his tirade for the benefit of his strange-looking friend, "Williams." "What's Congress ever given me except a lot of trouble?" Bentley grunts. "You know what I think? I think we'd be better off if there WASN'T any Congress!"
CUs of soap bubbles suddenly appear as Bentley is catapulted into a black void nightmare world where all the sets are built on German Expressionist angles and everyone's voice has an echo. "LOTS of things are different without the powers of Congress!" cackles Williams, who has been transformed (thanks to low-angle lighting) into a kind of omnipresent demon. "YOU'LL see! Hee hee hee hee...." Bentley quickly discovers that, without Congress, his money is worthless, his court system is in ruins, and, worst of all, Social Security is bankrupt. "You'll have to look out for yourself when you lose your job!" Williams crows. Next, Bentley's wife arrives, sobbing that without Congress "our FHA loan was no good" and that now the Bentley's have been thrown out on the street!
Thankfully, the soap bubbles reappear and Bentley wakes up back is his nightmare-inducing living room. It was all a dream! "NOW I know what to put in my speech for the club!" he chuckles, and we leave him with a better attitude and a Social Security system that his beloved Congress would eventually leverage into bankruptcy anyway.
Man and wife listen to large radio in living room
Man buys stamps at post office. He argues about politics with a friend
CU man pounds fist on table
CU gavel pounding. Newspaper headline reads "Congress Suspended". Soap bubbles float through air.
Surrealistic post office window with laughung, uncooperative clerk.
Man with 10 gallon hat with the word TEXAS written across it
Man sleeping in living room chair is awakened by wife
Man at desk rehearses speech
Small suburban house
CU ham being carried.
CU railroad tickets and fare charters
CU face of gas pump with numbers changing ( $.23 / gallon)
Golden Gate Bridge
Men talk on telephones
POLITICAL SCIENCE POLITICS UNITED STATES HISTORY CONGRESS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SENATE DREAMS SURREALISM SLEEP FANTASY NARRATIVES
- 2002-07-16 00:00:00
- Closed captioning
- United States
- Run time
Subject: I Heart Congress
The film is pure propaganda about how wonderful the U.S. Congress is, quoting no less than the Constitution as proof of its usefulness. Charles Bentley is all dyspeptic about it until after his dream. Then he has an instant realisation so common in Coronet Films.
Next follows a stream of stock footage, claiming Congress is responsible for all it shows.
As the film was shot in 1947, there's an inference that the American system of government is swell, unlike certain other countries full of Comrades. Nyet to them!
Subject: A Dumb Film
Subject: This film will cause you to see visions.
Subject: The Glory of Centralized Authority
Subject: truth is stranger than fiction
Also, why is the "non congress" actor an Asian? I was wondering because of the time this was made, was it a way to suggest if congress was gone, the United States would be like?? oh , I dont know, China?
Very interesting to watch this considering the current state of America, that is for sure.
Subject: propaganda film
As to this film, it's delightfully surreal and a worthy addition to most any Prelinger collection.
Subject: Come back Congress!
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